Experimental Biology 2017

Our group tore it up at back-to-back scientific meetings this year!

Congratulations to post-doc Godfred Boateng, who received first place in the American Society for Nutrition’s Emerging Leaders Poster Competition! The Community and Public Health RIS awarded this to Godfred presented his work entitled “Food Insecurity and HIV-exposure are Deleterious to Infant Cognitive Development in Kenya: A longitudinal study”. He also received a travel award.

Congratulations to undergraduate Lauren Blacker who received second place in the American Society for Nutrition’s Emerging Leaders Poster Competition. This is particularly impressive as she was competing against post-docs, graduate students and undergrads. Lauren’s work entitled “Household food insecurity and gender inequity is associated with high prevalence of maternal depression amongst female farmers with young children in rural Tanzania” was well received in both poster and oral presentation sessions at Experimental Biology in Chicago. Well done, team!

Lauren Blacker (left) and Godfred Boateng (right), laden with certificates from the Emerging Leaders Poster Competition.

Ethnonutrition knowledge and dietary diversity in Tanzania

Congratulations to Dr. Bronwen Powell! Our paper, based on her excellent dissertation work, is entitled “The determinants of dietary diversity and nutrition: ethnonutrition knowledge of local people in the East Usambara Mountains, Tanzania“. It was published in the Journal of Ethnobiography and Ethnomedicine.

Anna Earnest is pictured here in her garden where she has planted cassava along the field margin of the tea plantation. Anna lives on a tea estate where her husband works and described the utility of her garden, listed in the following passage: “If I plant cassava like this one, I do not need to buy it, even beans. You will find them [those who work for the tea company and don’t engage in agriculture] drinking tea alone, or tea and boiled banana. And as for cultivated vegetables, I will harvest leafy vegetables and they will eat only dagaa.”

A review of what we know, and what we don’t, about household water insecurity

Our invited review on water insecurity “Progress in Household Water Insecurity Metrics: A Cross-Discpilinary Approach in the Social Sciences” has been published in WIREs Water. This marks the beginning of an exciting cross-disciplinary collaboration as delve into the many aspects of household-level water insecurity globally! Special thanks to Wendy Jepson and Amber Wutich for being such awesome collaborators.

We received the Leverhulme IMMANA award to continue our water insecurity work!

We are delighted to announce that we have been awarded an Innovative Methods and Metrics for Agriculture and Nutrition Actions (IMMANA) grant from the Leverhulme Center for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health (LCIRAH)! This award will allow us to expand our water insecurity work by teaming up with collaborators working in the  Shamba Maisha study in Kenya, Amber Wutich et al.’s Global Ethnohydrology Study, and Wendy Jepson’s water work in Brazil, among others.

Our highly-anticipated water insecurity scale will be implemented in rural and urban areas worldwide, with the majority of our work taking place in Kenya, Nepal, Bangladesh, Tajikistan, Brazil, Tanzania, Ghana, and Mexico, with possible expansion to other research areas. Stay tuned for further information!


HIV, lactation, and body composition

Congratulations to Dr. Elizabeth Widen and co-authors whose manuscript “Food insecurity, but not HIV-infection status, is associated with adverse changes in body composition during lactation in Ugandan women of mixed HIV status” has been published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. To our knowledge, this is the first publication to examine the role of food insecurity on weight changes in HIV+ women during lactation. These exciting results from the NAPS Ugandan pregnancy cohort can be found here.

Our Singida study won the 10th McKnight Community of Practice poster competition!

Congratulations to our colleagues, Clara Mollay (NM-AIST) and Esther Kalonga (AATZ) et alia for winning the poster competition at the 10th McKnight Community of Practice image_1meeting in Lilongwe, Malawi. The poster highlighted the various activities undertaken during the first phase of this project and our baseline findings that there is high potential to benefit from this project. SNAP is starting the next phase in its implementation as farmers started to get into the next farming season.

Dr. Paula Pebsworth to discuss geophagy in non-human primates in the International Primatological Society meeting

Paula & GeresomuCongratulations to Dr. Paula Pebsworth, whose abstract “Can geophagy alter the feeding ecology of non-human primates?: a systematic literature review” has been programed for an oral presentation on Tuesday, August 23 @ 4:30, at the joint meeting of the International Primatological Society and the American Society of Primatologists in Chicago. She will discuss which non-human primate species have been observed eating earth, what kinds of earth, and where on Earth they do this.

Geophagy in non-human primates is considered adaptive and a form of self-medication; however, the proximate and ultimate mechanisms remain unknown. Paula will discuss the main physiological explanations, 3 new predictions, and lay out a research agenda.